When you first realize the possibilities about working from home, it's normal to get super excited and believe everyone else will be too. But often times the family isn't as happy as you are, nor as trusting. They think it's just a pipe dream, or worse, a scam. They haven't done the research you have so they do not realize the true possibilities and potential surrounding the idea of working from home.
Provide Your Research to Them
Many times your family just cares about you so much that they simply want to protect you. But, if you show them the research that you've done, they may quickly realize that you've done your homework, and that you're not going to get scammed.
Give Examples of Others Doing It Successfully
More than likely, at this point you have a circle of influence that includes work-at-home success stories. Let your partner and family in on the fact by talking about how so-and-so is making x dollars and all from working from home. Explain what they do, and put the bug in their ear of the possibilities and potential.
Write Out a Business Plan
Banks want business plans to ensure that you've looked at all aspects of the business you plan to run. They want to see the numbers, and how you plan to make more money in the short term and the long term. Your family will feel better seeing these numbers, too. Even if you don't plan to get a loan for your business, showing them everything down on paper will impress them.
Transition Slowly - Timing Is Everything
Don't expect everyone to be on board from day one. The idea takes time to sink in for some people. Mostly out of concern for you, but sometimes also from fear. Spouses fear what they don't understand and not everyone is entrepreneurial or likes taking what they see as risks. Even though telecommuting has been around a while, it's still rare enough that people are shocked to find out that their home shopping orders, or pizza orders are being taken by someone in their home office.
Work after Hours to Show Them the Money
If you're not getting any place with discussion, you might want to start working after hours to show them the money. Cuba Gooding Jr.'s character in the movie, Jerry Maguire, had it right. People think differently about many things when they see the cash. If you have a spouse or family like that, you can work around their schedules doing something to earn money and then show them by paying for something fun, like a family vacation.
Explain to the Children about ‘Work’ Time
You're going to have to talk to the children a lot about work time. You might even have to with your spouse. It's a myth that you can work in chaos and constant interruption. You need a place you can work, and that people realize to leave you alone when you're doing it. You can use a sign on the door, timers, and other incentives to get everyone on board and understanding. As for family that live outside your home, just don't answer the phone or door when you're working. Everyone will get accustomed to it eventually.
Make Your Family into Partners
As they start to get on board with the idea of your working from home, reward them by making them part of your business. You can hire family members and spouses on a contracting basis and pay them, and deduct if from your business taxes. Plus, they will start making money too and that will make them really get on board. Children can file, spouses can sometimes do what you're doing or offer technical help.
Keep the Lines of Communication Open
The most important aspect of talking to your family about working from home is to keep the lines of communication open at all times. You want to be honest with what is working and what is not working, and you'll be surprised at how much your family is on your side with the goal of your working from home.
Family can sometimes be a hard sell, but it's not because they don't love you. It's because they do love you. Also, sometimes it's just because they're ignorant of what working at home means. This is especially true of older individuals who may not understand technology. With them, you might want to let them see you working so they get it.
If you've already been through this stage, let us know what worked for you, or maybe warn us of some pitfalls you may have run in to. We'd love to hear your stories in the comments section.